Representatives of Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) and Development Finance of Trinidad and Tobago have signed a US$2.5mn loan and a US$335,000 grant for technical assistance to support the launching of a new financial institution that will provide credit to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in Guyana and Suriname.
The new financial institution, DFLSA Incorporated, is the result of close collaboration among the European Investment Bank, the MIF and the Inter-American Investment Corporation, and the DFL Caribbean Group. DFLSA is expected to start operations in January 2005.

DFLSA will lend to and assist in developing and expanding small and medium-sized enterprises, especially regarding international competitiveness and good corporate governance. It is expected that in five years DFLSA will support the development and expansion of up to 50 small and medium-sized enterprises in Guyana and Suriname and will also be in a position to issue bonds in local capital markets. DFLSA will provide medium and long-term financing, as well as technical assistance, to SMEs in mostly the manufacturing, agro-processing, and industrial and commercial services sectors.

DFLSA is a significant element in the expansion of the DFL Caribbean Group in terms of SME financing. It also extends the Group’s microfinance operations to Guyana and Suriname in addition to Trinidad and Tobago and the Eastern Caribbean. Each of the Group’s microfinance operations will be a licensed financial institution. The Group’s private equity subsidiary, DEVCAP, will make equity investments in SME in Guyana and Suriname in collaboration with DFLSA and with its strategic partners.

The MIF takes the role of lead financier in this initiative, allowing DFLSA to establish a needed operational track record and develop the necessary critical mass of lending to make it sustainable.